PITTSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – Mr. Handsome, the 31.4-pound cat who is currently residing in a cabinet in the Chatham County Animal Shelter break room has become an internet sensation, but so far no one has volunteered to take him home.
And that could be because of the truth behind the sensation: Mr. Handsome is sweet and adorable, but his weight is likely both caused by and causing real medical issues.
“It hurts me to watch him walk,” said shelter attendant Ginny Jenrette.
The cat is too big for the shelter’s kennels, so staff put him in the break room, where he commandeered a cabinet shelf.
Mr. Handsome doesn’t eat much, but when he does, he walks over to his bowl, only a few steps from the cabinet, then lies down in front of it to eat. Jenrette thinks his joints aren’t up to him standing to eat.
Mr. Handsome drew eyes across the globe after a photo of shelter staff hoisting him aloft, his belly and tongue protruding, hit the internet.
And so there have been plenty of online comments offering to take him — Facebook comments about how cute he is, and how much people want to take him home.
But so far, no owner has been identified, and no one has filled out the application required to be entered in the drawing to become his new family. Applications are due Wednesday. The drawing will be Thursday.
Mr. Handsome came in as a stray, but both his demeanor and his bulk suggest he was someone’s pet.
“He obviously has had somebody who loved him at one time,” Jenrette said.
And he’s very friendly, if not overly active.
“He just wants to be somebody’s couch potato,” Jenrette said.
Applicants must provide vet references, and whoever succeeds in becoming Mr. Handsome’s new person will be on the hook for some serious veterinary bills.
The cat, who is 3-to-5 years old likely has an underlying medical issue, and all the weight has taken a toll on his joints, shelter staff said.
Upfront costs will likely be between a few hundred and more than a thousand dollars, and he’ll also have ongoing costs, likely including a prescription diet to get the weight off.
He’ll also need extra grooming – he can’t reach much of his back and some other areas, necessitating a brush and a wipe down every day.
But Jenrette is confidant he’ll find a home.
“As much attention as he’s gotten, somebody is going to come for him. Somebody is going to want to adopt him and be serious about it.”
And Mr. Handsome’s notoriety is helping other animals.
On a good day, the shelter might place two animals in new homes. Monday, boosted by a $20 adoption special and all the attention on Mr. Handsome, nine animals found families.
“He helped us get that,” Jenrette said. “That’s great.”